Valentine's Day Book Review Activity

Happy to be linking up with Laura Candler at Corkboard Connections for Februrary Freebies - be sure to check out the other great bloggers who have linked up!

My students love to share book titles with each other and I'm always amazed at how much they inspire each other to read.  All it takes sometimes is for one student to get excited about a book and before I know it, the entire class is desperate for a copy.  

In the last few years I've started developing seasonal book review templates and posting them in the classroom every few months.  In honor of Valentine's Day I've created a heart shaped template for students to write a "Short and Sweet" book review.  The emphasis is on having fun and writing a book review with their classmates as their audience.  I ask students to share their reviews with each other in small groups and then I post their reviews on a bulletin board in my class.  I will also do this in conjunction to a trip to the library so that students have the opportunity to sign out a book they may have just heard about through a review.

Click the image below to grab a free copy of the templates (one is lined and the other is unlined). No color printer required!

Happy Valentine's Day!
Check out last year's Valentine's Day Freebie Blog Post HERE.


Product Swap - Expository Text Structures

I'm thrilled to be participating in my first Blogger Product Swap with one of my favorite fellow bloggers, Ann Marie at Innovative Connections. The Swap is organized by the equally fabulous blogger, Jessica at Mrs. Stanford's Class (be sure to check out all the other awesome blogs that are participating in The Swap!) Ann Marie is a middle-school ELA teacher and I just know she must be fabulous in the classroom... her energy and enthusiasm for all things teaching just leap off the pages of her blog. I only wish she lived closer - I have a funny feeling the two of us would really hit it off!

She sent me her package called "Expository Text Structures Signal Words Card Pack: Word Wall/Centers" which is fantastic!!!  It includes a great selection of key words to help students when they're reading, writing or analyzing expository texts. She was kind enough to include everything in two different sizes - one large enough for a Word Wall Display and the other small enough to bundle and attach to an "O" Ring - perfect for use at a literacy center! The entire pack is over 80 pages - but I love that you have a choice to use the large or small size which could save you paper (and ink) with printing!

Text Structures featured in this product:
- Cause/Effect
- Problem/Solution
- Goal-Action-Outcome
- Compare/Contrast
- Concept-Definition
- Proposition-Support

Each of the six different Text Structures has its own Title Card and each set has its own unique visual border. These bright and colorful word wall cards can be used to create a display of Expository Text Structures and their key words. You can use the word wall to remind students what to look for when analyzing an author's pattern of writing or to identify text structures found within a reading selection. I also think that the word wall cards would be great reminders to students when they are doing their own writing - a quick glance at the wall and they would see a wide selection of words to use in their own work.

If you're looking for something to use at a Literacy or Writing Centre the small set is perfect for displaying on an "O" ring for students to flip through quickly and efficiently.  The color coding and each set's unique border will make it easy for students to work with the words and make sense of each type of text structure.  

What a great reference tool for students at a literacy center!

I can't wait to make a display with the larger word wall cards - they'll serve as a great visual tool for students. I've already printed out the large cards and I plan on laminating them next week on to some heavier card stock. so that I can use them year after year for a display.  The bright, cheerful colors she used will really make these posters pop!

*Special SALE - This product is 20% off for Jan. 12 & 13th only!

Be sure to check out more of Ann Marie's great ELA products at her TpT Store and be sure to visit her blog, Innovative Connections if you'd like to learn more about Ann Marie, learn more about and see the product I swapped with her (my bestselling Poetry Resources Package!)

Also be sure to check out all the other amazing bloggers and their products by clicking the link below.


Winter Writing Prompt

I love to help students develop their creative writing skills as it's something I used to enjoy so much as as a student.  So many of my students over the years have told me the most difficult part of writing is often coming up with a "Good Idea".  So to help my students I try to develop unique and engaging writing prompts to help them get over the hurdle of "writer's block". 

I often find inspiration for writing prompts in artwork that I see, I guess it's the visual learner in me... so when I started seeing so many wonderful examples of Subway Art I thought I could turn it into a writing prompt.  Here's a fun example for you to use with your students over the next few winter months.  Click the image below to grab a copy from my TpT Store.

A fun way to use this is your classroom is to display it on a document camera / projector so that students can see the different colors.  Full download includes color version, black/white version and two sheets of winter themed writing paper.
Challenge your students to: 
- use a word to start a paragraph
- write a haiku using just dark blue words as inspiration
- use three words in the first paragraph of a story
- write dialogue using the light blue words
- identify the parts of speech
- use a picture and a word from each color in a poem
- make their own Subway Art with a winter theme
- I'm sure there are many more ideas that I would love to hear about in the comments below
If you like this subway art writing prompt, you can check out similar activities at previous blog posts by clicking the links below.

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday

Global Blogger Linky and Canada Map Freebie!

One of the greatest joys I've discovered from blogging is meeting people from around the world... I've got "friends" all over North America and the world thanks to the wonderful worldwide web.  The sharing and collaborating that can take place is really remarkable.
I've linked up with Making It As a Middle School Teacher (Michelle is always so generous with hosting link ups for bloggers - this is the second one I've joined up with her in a week!).  She's highlighting bloggers from outside the US... and as a resident of the Great White North (aka Canada) I'm thrilled to join up! 

One of the most unique things about being a blogger from Canada is that I'm always aware of the different spelling we use on many word - I know that my audience is mostly American so I'm constantly having to think about how to spell words like "favourite, neighbour, colour..."  In Canada we use British spelling and some words are slightly different!  I have to be aware of what spelling people would prefer on my TpT products and downloads.
In honour (yup... we spell it with a U!) of Canada I thought I'd highlight a freebie Canada map activity I have on TpT.  Click on the image below to grab a FREE copy of the mapping activity (and yes.. it includes a version with Canadian spelling and a version with American spelling!)

Be sure to check out all the other great global blogs hosted at
Happy New Year!